The Longing

“If we are to be together, we’ll surely be…”

November 22nd, 2025

00:30 am

New Delhi

I looked at my watch again, it struck half-way past twelve.

“Twelve-thirty .. Hmm…”

It was any ways a bad time to travel, and more so for a woman, in this notorious city, famed for it’s high crime-rate against women….

“Must be thirty or so”, out of sheer habit, I concluded…

“Even after so many years… some habits die hard!!” The Longing

I got up, and strolled towards her. A chill went through my spine, “Damn! It’s cold!”

A puff of vapor left my lips as I opened my mouth, “May I sit here?”

She looked up, her eyes; she looked painstakingly similar to someone I knew, once held dear!!

“Hmm…”

She was on phone with somebody.

“Ma! Ami prothome sune niyache! Chinta karo na! Saurav amake pick kore nibe!!”

“Mothers!!”, I thought.

“Huh??”, she was looking at me.

I realised, I had actually spoken it out, “Oh! Nothing!!”

“What’s with me and Bengalis!!?!! The Longing “, this time I made sure, it was in my mind only.

“Ma..! I’m hanging up. I’ll talk to you later…”

I decided to start up a conversation, frankly, just for the sake of it.

And, like always, I blew it The Longing

“Hey! So, you a Bengali!!?” “(Crap!!)”

“Mmm…”, she tried to smile, “A.. Yes!!”

“Winter does something to my, machinery”, I tried to crack one, pointing at my head… “Shit! Shit! Shit! From bad, to worse! Great, keep it up, uncle!!”

I could see, she was trying real hard to come up with a response, but I, me, myself  😛 😛

________________________________________

July 3rd,2013

New Delhi

Her results were out. She had gotten into Xavier’s.

Couldn’t they have established it in Delhi? I mean C’mon, DU is here, IIT is here, then why not Xavier’s…  😦

She was to go this Friday, I, it was hard to imagine being without her.

Imagine, actually doing so! Crap!

All this time, I had acted, ‘adult’; but not anymore!!

I could not pretend any more.

I called her up.

“Hey!”

“Hmm…!”

I could make out, the excitement in her voice.

“So, how’s the shopping going..?”

It felt as if I had just pushed the button which was to initiate the self-destruct of some dam. Well the dam did break!

“I picked up, two of my favorite bags today. Then went to Delhi Haat…”

I lost it somewhere. Frankly, the only reason I had not asked her to stop; was, as it was she who was speaking. She, her voice, her sweet, husky voice; I could almost endlessly keep listening to her, it didn’t matter what she said; I was just happy listening.

“Now, you say something. How was your day?”

“Usual. You say na. Kuch bhi, accha accha!!”

“What happened, you sound… You all right, na!!”

“Yeah! Am fine.. It’s just you won’t be here, na…”

“Listen! That doesn’t mean…”

I hung up. Removed the sim and broke it down to bits.

______________________________

July 4th, 2013

New Delhi

“Dad! I’m going to Dalhousie, with friends!!”

“Thoda aur jaldi bata deta!!”

“Please, abhi nahi..!”

I left.

November 22nd, 2025

00:40

New Delhi

“Ahh… It’s pretty late; maybe, I could drop you somewhere…”

She picked up her purse, opened the zip, her hand went in…

Pepper spray!!?!  😛 😛

“You haven’t changed a bit”, she said, taking out a piece of paper from her bag.

A bell rung somewhere in my skull, “A highly unlikely scenario, yet quite possible”

“Hey!! I can see, the day-dreaming part is still there”, she was looking, rather staring at me, with that piece of paper thrusted towards me.

I need some air!!

“Anya, told me, you refused to keep it..!”

“Shit!! You’ve got to be crapping me!!!”, I was out of words….

“Aaaa….”

“Keep this”, she dumped it in my chest pocket and got up.

I followed suite, “Wait!! This can’t be happening”

“Well, it is!”

“Hey wait!!”, I grabbed her hand. She stared back, her eyes, like always, said everything; I had lost the right, and perhaps, deservedly, so!

She slowed down her pace, I caught up.

Silence

“So, how’ve you been?”

“Good! You?”

Getting formal, are we?!!

“Fine!! Waise, yahaan kaise? I’d have imagined, you’d be in Mumbai”

“Been here for a while”

Silence

“So late into the night, kahaan ja ri ho? C’mon I’ll drop you..”

“You did your part long back. Don’t worry, Saurav is coming to pick me up”

Something, somewhere, inside me, was smashed.

“So you guys, are together?”

She just gave a wry smile. I managed my answer.

“I…. How to say this… I’m really sorry about….”

She cut me short. “It’s been a decade. There’s no point chasing ghosts”

A horn sounded from behind me, a black accord, stopped by. It’s window rolled down. She got in.

She left…..

___________________________ 

July 8th, 2013

New Delhi

“Anya had come… twice or thrice, said it was something important. Maybe you should call her….”

“Hmm… Dekhta hu!”

_

“She left something for you”

“Who?”

“You know what, you’re an a****le”

I frankly didn’t care anymore.

She took out a piece of paper from her bag.

“What’s this?”

“Khud hi dekh lo..”

“I don’t want this!!”

“Do suggest, as to, what shall I do with it?”

“Return it to the one who gave you this!”

I was acting weirdly rude, and well, quite frankly, it was totally unwarranted..

“I’m sorry! Really! Just that, this ain’t a good time..”

“I… Look whatever is wrong, you two should sort it out.. It’s hard to see you guys like this…”

I couldn’t bear any more of her, in spite of her being right.

I left, again.

___________________________________

October 24th, 2013

Mumbai

She seemed happy. I couldn’t muster up enough courage.

What will I do?

What will I say?

What excuse will I give?

Those lines had propelled me till now, but now I was developing cold feet.

Still I had to talk to her, after all Delhi to Bombay is a costly affair…!  😉 🙂

“Hey!!”

The expression on her face turned grave.

“It’s me! I’m alive!”, I wanted to say, but well that again would have been stupid. I waited a while for her to say something, anything; but nothing came out. She started moving.

“I’m….”

“Ashna….”, a voice called out from behind me…

“Who the….”

She stopped.

“Hey!!”, she said.

“Hey!!”, he said.

“Saurav, this is Atharva!”

Out of sheer habit, I stretched out my hand.

“Hey!”, he said.

“F*ck You!!”, I thought; “Hello”, I said.

He shifted his attention to her, “We’re late, we should be off!!”

I was feeling like a f*cking statue.

“Will catch up with you later mate…”

They left.

I stood grounded.

 ____________________

November 22nd, 2025

00:52

New Delhi

I opened the letter again. All I could focus on were the last two lines.

“If we are to be together, we’ll surely be. But not now, Not yet.”

“I, I waited for you dear; I waited. God knows, how much I’d longed for this day… But it seems…”

A tear came off his eye and dropped into the night.

“It’s time to leave now”

I left… for the last time possible….

_____________________________________

November 22nd, 2025

00:55

New Delhi

“How many times have I told you not to travel so late… This city is not safe, and you know it, better than me”

“I know! I know! Keep your eyes on the road…”

“Who was that man with you?”

“Atharva…”

“You.. You found him? After all these years… I had told you, na… one day…”

“He.. I… We both couldn’t…”

“No.. No.. No.. Don’t tell me, you didn’t…”

“He thought I had married you…”

“What? Why didn’t you…? You both are just…”, he took a sharp U.

“What are you doing?”

“There has been enough of this…. No more of this inflated ego!”

They were late, I had already left!

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